The EIROforum School on Instrumentation was set up to teach students from different areas of research about what is going on in related fields of european science laboratories. This year, the school took place in Garching, offering two EIROforum members, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and EUROfusion, the chance to promote themselves. Co-organisers Mikhail Turnyanskiy (EUROfusion) and Mark Casali (ESO) discuss thinking outside the box and how important it is to inspire highly trained students.

More than 80 participants with a strong scientific background in a variety of disciplines, ranging from molecular biology to physics and fusion to astronomy, attended this year’s EIROforum School on Instrumentation. The biennial event is jointly organised by the EIROforum Working Group Instrumentation.

Step out of the laboratory box

EIROforum Logo“Within the participating labs and their specialised research there is always an overlap of interest in solving common issues”, says Mark Casali. According to him, the main problem he faced while organising the school was defining lectures that, on the one hand, have an advanced scientific background and provide options for cross-fertilisation in the field of instrumentation but which are, on the other hand, accessible to participants from different disciplines. “Of course, there are lots of transferable technologies. We provide the chance to exchange detailed internal knowledge and the ability to step out of the laboratory box”, adds Mikhail Turnyanskiy.

Facilities proudly presented themselves

But it wasn’t all lessons. The participants were able to tour the local research facilities in Garching, such as the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, the tokamak ASDEX-Upgrade and its supporting equipment, as well as the ESO laboratories and their adaptive optic systems, along with components for the European Extremely Large Telescope. The Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics presented precision spectroscopy with hydrogen to its enthusiastic audience. Turnyanskiy is pleased: “It was great to see how eagerly the IPP students presented their work.”

Scientists who will explore ITER some day

Above all, the school is not only a forum for knowledge exchange among the students. It is also the chance for laboratories to present their research to highly skilled young scientists: “Close could be the ones who will explore ITER, so it is important to raise their awareness of fusion research. If we attract their attention now, we will profoundly benefit from their expertise”, predicts Turnyanskiy.